The Assignment: Film the Leo Brady Exercise Like an Eskimo New Year’s Day Plunge
The Plan: Drone, GoPro, Still Shots
The Crew: Mitch, Jenifer, Neil
The Forecast: mid-60s, NW wind gusting to 35 mph
When planning a drone shoot in January, air temperature is usually the biggest variable. Drones can’t fly much below freezing. Coastal Drone Marketing (CDM) got a lucky break with mid-60s for New Year’s Day. But the wind forecast made an alternate plan necessary. 20 mph winds are okay. 25 mph is not great, but doable. Over 30 mph - yikes. So, in case of strong winds, CDM also had the gimbal-mounted Nikon ready to go for on-the-scene video.
Neil’s responsibility was to get the still shots; Jenifer, armored in her dry suit, took the GoPro to run with the plungers; Mitch had to decide between the drone or the Nikon.
“Luckily, the wind was almost directly west, no north in it,” said Mitch. A west wind meant that if a gust over-powered the drone, it would blow out to sea not back into the crowd. Also, by staying low he’d be able to avoid some of the wind altogether. But he was going to need to severely limit his airtime to save the battery.
The challenge for an event such as this is the brevity. While CDM’s permit from the Town of Bethany was for two hours, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, the Plunge itself lasts only a tiny fraction of that. The announcer starts counting down from 10, 9, 8…the crowd joins in, 3, 2, 1. Everyone screams. Then the plungers run towards the ocean, flip, fall, dive, or dip into the water, and run out. Then it’s over. If the camera gear isn’t ready, you’ve missed it.
With the wind, Mitch couldn’t keep the drone up very long without draining the batteries. And he had to be down the beach from the plungers so that he wouldn’t fly over anyone (a big no-no) which meant he couldn’t hear the countdown. But he got it in the air and over water just in time to catch all the frenzied action.
“Everything worked out,” said Mitch. “Neil caught some great pre and post plunge expressions. Jen got some fun reactions. And I got the drone up in time to catch it from the sky.”
Check out the results!
Congrats to Coastal Drone Marketing’s Mitch Mitchell for passing his Unmanned Aircraft Recurrent with “flying” colors!
The FAA first offered the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) certification and license in 2016 with all certifications expiring after 24 months. Which means that every pilot certified from the beginning is now going through the renewal process.
The renewal exam is a written test that covers UAS rules and regulations, aeronautical decision-making, risk management, FAA regulations (where you can fly, when you can fly, how high you can fly, visibility restrictions, weight restrictions, airspace restrictions, etc, etc.) with the biggest portion dedicated to aeronautical chart reading. A lot more than you think you’d need to know to fly a drone!
To prepare for the test, Mitchell reviewed the initial on-line certification course he’d taken two years earlier. He also did a new on-line course created specifically for the recurrent test. And finally, he worked through hundreds and hundreds of test questions.
According to Mitchell, the test was difficult because of the vast subject matter. “I’d spent a lot of time studying chart-reading so that part wasn’t too bad,” said Mitchell. “But the scenario-based questions were tough.”
Mitchell has always enjoyed photography and marketing. He had dabbled in aerial photography, appreciating the “earth from above” perspective. So when drone photography came out, he immediately saw the potential and wanted to add this new dimension to his skill set.
Getting his UAS pilot’s license became a necessity once he decided to use drone photography to market his pre-existing kayaking business. “Even if no money changes hands,” explains Mitchell, “when the photos are used to promote a business, legally you have to be licensed.”
While it took a significant commitment to get his original certification and a lot of it seemed to be rote memorization of government jargon and acronyms, and while he thinks it could be pared down and made more focused on drone-specific needs, he sees the importance of the program. “It is made to protect the public. So when drone pilots are licensed and are following the rules, it ensures that people and property won’t get hurt.”
What is he going to do to celebrate his certification renewal?
“Go fly my drone!”
With over 15 years of experience in the field of real estate (currently licensed in the state of FL) Mitch knows what it takes to help get things sold. In addition, Mitch has run a successful resort business for over 20 years, starting from the ground up. Because of his background in real estate and tourism photography, he is the perfect choice for helping you achieve your goals.